Expert Witness

Dr Mike Webster BEng, MSc, PhD, DIC, CEng, FICE, FIStructE regularly acts as an expert witness in cases involving construction safety, structural safety, CDM 2015, enforcement notice appeals and construction-related personal injury.  He has been instructed by legal teams for both prosecution and defence, has worked on both civil and criminal cases, and has worked on cases under both English and Scottish law.

Mike has acted as expert witness on a range of collapses including reinforcement cages, steel structures, structures being underpinned, bridge wing walls, retaining walls, bridge beams, industrial structures, stored glazing, stored frames, structures undergoing demolition, barriers and mantelpieces.  Mike has also worked on construction cases involving temporary works, moving plant, fire risks and falls from roof edges, through ceilings, through structural openings and though fragile materials.

When something goes wrong on a construction site, such as a collapse, and the case ends up in a dispute, an enforcement notice or a prosecution, some of the issues involved can be highly technical and difficult for a lay person to understand.  This could could make it difficult for those trying the case to reach a decision.  Mike can act as an expert witness and make his knowledge and experience available to litigants, Courts and those resolving disputes to help them understand the issues in a case and thereby reach a sound and just decision.


Areas of expertise

Dr Mike Webster has expertise in:

  • Construction health and safety, risk and the CDM Regulations – he led independent evaluations of CDM 1994 and CDM 2007 and reviewed the use of CDM 2007 in the construction of London 2012.  In 2021, Mike was appointed by HSE to lead a research project to review how the CDM 2015 Principal Designer role is working in practice.  He has published a range of work and acted as an expert witness on behalf of both defence and prosecution teams in cases involving breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act, the Work at Height Regulations and the CDM Regulations (CDM 1994, CDM 2007 and CDM 2015) during construction projects.
  • Safety and the service life of structures – his interest is in combining material, structural and construction issues to minimise risks to the safety, serviceability and whole life cost of concrete structures.  He has published a range of work, developed appraisal and asset management guidance in the UK, Europe and Hong Kong and acted as an expert witness.

Cases worked on

Dr Mike Webster has acted as expert witness under both English and Scottish law.  He has been instructed by both defence and prosecution teams in a range of cases involving:

Legislation

  • Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
  • CDM Regulations 1994, 2007 and 2015
  • Work at Height Regulations 2005

Type of case

  • Gross negligence manslaughter
  • Corporate manslaughter investigation
  • Prosecution and potential prosecution for health and safety offences
  • Enforcement Notice appeal
  • Fee for Intervention Dispute
  • Personal injury claim
  • Civil claim

CDM duty holder

  • Clients (from small one-off Clients to multinational Clients)
  • Planning Supervisors, CDM Coordinators and Principal Designers
  • Designers
  • Principal Contractors (from small local Contractors to major multinational Contractors)
  • Contractors

Other duty holders

  • Rail operators
  • Business operators

Type of incident and accident

  • Falls – through fragile roofs, from external roofs, from roofs of internal structures, from gantries, from scaffolding, down stairs, through fragile materials, through structural openings, through ceilings;
  • Collapses – bridge beam during installation, bridge wing wall during canal refurbishment, rebar cage during construction, masonry structure being underpinned, steel structure during construction, scaffolding, power station demolition, badly installed mantelpieces, glass panels in storage, barriers and gallery frames stored outside building;
  • Temporary works – trench excavation (no or inadequate support), reinforced cavity masonry retaining wall (inadequate shoring), bridge beam support during installation, inadequate support to excavation behind bridge wing wall, inadequate support of rebar cage during construction, support during underpinning, temporary stability of steelwork and scaffolding; and
  • Other hazards – timber frame off-site fire risk during construction, gas flue blockage, cable strike, entanglement in chain, manual handling of a pump set and electrocution during rail maintenance.

Instructed by

Mike has been instructed by a range of solicitors including:

  • Beale & Co
  • Blackfords
  • BLM
  • Bond Pearce
  • Clyde & Co
  • Crown Prosecution Service
  • DWF
  • Farleys
  • Foot Anstey
  • Frisby & Co
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Holman Fenwick Willan
  • Irwin Mitchell
  • Keoghs
  • Office of Rail and Road
  • Osborne Clarke
  • Pinsent Masons
  • PR Scully
  • Shoosmiths
  • Squire Patton Boggs
  • Tuckers Solicitors
  • VHS Fletchers
  • Weightmans

These cases have involved counsel from a range of chambers including:

  • 2 Bedford Row
  • 2 Hare Court
  • 2 Temple Gardens
  • 3 Paper Buildings
  • 5 Paper Buildings
  • 6 KBW College Hill
  • 6 Pump Court
  • 9 St John Street
  • Albion Chambers
  • Compass Chambers
  • Crown Office Chambers
  • Fountain Court Chambers
  • Matrix Chambers
  • Outer Temple Chambers
  • Red Lion Chambers
  • St John’s Buildings
  • St Philips Chambers
  • Temple Garden Chambers

Expert witness services

Mike can help with independent and objective advice on construction safety, structural safety, CDM 2015 and construction-related personal injury by:

  • Initial discussions – to establish what the range of issues are and, potentially, provide an outline opinion
  • Undertaking site visits – to help establish what may have gone wrong and to provide input on what evidence and / or testing would be useful to establish the relevant facts
  • Reviewing evidence – to understand what the key issues are and the implications of those issues for the parties involved
  • Preparing briefing notes and formal reports – to provide an opinion on what has happened, what should have happened, what the significance is of any difference between the two and whether any difference caused the incident
  • Liaising with other experts – to identify which issues can be agreed upon and where there are differences of opinion
  • Giving evidence in court – to help the judge and jury understand the key issues

About and contact details

Dr Mike Webster is a chartered engineer with over 30 years’ experience.  He is a Fellow of both the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Institution of Structural Engineers.  He specialises in construction and structural safety, CDM and risk, and founded MPW R&R to provide Consulting, Forensic and Expert Witness services in those areas.

Mike has worked on the design, appraisal and site supervision of building and bridge structures.  He has developed guidance for assessing the safety of existing structures.  Mike led an independent review of CDM 1994 and the independent evaluation of CDM 2007.  He also led the review of the use of CDM 2007 in the construction of London 2012 and, in 2021, he led the review of the CDM 2015 Principal Designer role.

Mike has been instructed as an expert witness by both defence and prosecution teams in cases involving allegations of gross negligence manslaughter, breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act, the Work at Height Regulations and the CDM Regulations and the appeal of enforcement notices.

Mike is the author of around 40 published reports and papers on structural safety, construction health and safety and the CDM Regulations.  He is also the author of a range of articles on CDM 2015.

Mike is currently a member of the following industry forums relating to his expertise:

If you would like to discuss how Mike may be able to help, or would like a copy of Mike Webster’s expert witness CV please email mike.webster@mpwrandr.co.uk or call on 07969 957471.